Garo Nalbandian

Even today, many monks continue the tradition of living isolated lives, emerging from their cave-rooms only once a week for communal prayer and for the distribution of food and of supplies for handicrafts. This monk from St. George’s monastery pulls up supplies in a basket, giving a glimpse into the monks’ raw living conditions. Not all monks have lived under such austere conditions, however. Many monasteries boasted gardens and elegant mosaics and offered good food. For people from the lower and middle classes of Byzantine society, joining a monastery represented a marked improvement in their living conditions.